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unless such discovery should tend to his crimination; and it modifies the relief prayed, either by bill, injunction, or petition, in such manner as may best answer all the particular exigencies of the parties; but can in no case oppugn the fundamental maxims of the law, “perquam durum est sed ita lex scripta est ;" and in this, or indeed in any of the insular courts, should a perfectly new point, or res integra, occur, recourse is always had by the respective judges to the best authorities, or expounders of the law of England, on the legal subject before them, as their pole-star and authority. .
For the purpose of prosecuting a suit on the law side of this court, a common action is entered at the rolls-office, and process is granted by the governor thereon. Three days before the chancery court (which is usually held the first Thursday in every month in Castle Rushen) the defendant must be charged, or summoned by the coroner or his deputy, to appear at the next court, when the action is called in its regular order by the coroner. Should the defendant neglect to appear, an attachment is moved for against him; and these proceedings are renewed at the second, third, and fourth courts ; at the latter of which, the cause is either heard and determined, if matter of debt, and not denied, by the complainant's own oath; or it may be continued to the next court, at the option of the complainant. Should the cause of action be disputed or denied by the defendant, the court may transmit the matter to be tried in the deemster's court, or by a jury at common law; or to such other court, eccle
siastical or civil, as the nature of the case may require. But when a common action is taken out, (which must be on affidavit of the debt), either against a native who is about to leave the island, or against a stranger for a debt, however small, contracted in the island, the defendant may not only be sent to prison, but his effects may instantly be arrested and taken possession of by the constable, to answer the amount of the damages' and costs. After the decree, the effects must be sold by auction, or so much thereof as will satisfy the complainant, after paying one year's rent if due, and such servants wages as may happen to be owing by the defendant. .
On the equity side of the court, the proceedings are carried on in a manner similar to the English, viz. by bill and answer, after the compulsory process before-mentioned; when the defendant is obliged to put in his answer by the fourth court, unless he obtains time from the chancellor, or has left the island ; in such case, a commission is moved for to take his answer, and time given for the purpose, at the discretion of the court.
After the answer is put in, the parties proceed forthwith to the examination of witnesses, whose testimony is taken in writing before the clerk of the rolls, at such time and place as he may appoint, whereof notice is to be given to the opposite party; or, if the witnesses reside abroad, a commission issues, with the forms prescribed in England; and, on its return, after due publication, copies of the depositions are given to the parties, and the
cause comes on to be heard at 'the next court. It is not usual for the chancellor to pronounce his decree in open court; but in a few days after the hearing, the decree is extended, entered on record, and signed by the chancellor; a copy of which may be immediately had at the rolls office.
With respect to the privileges of natives and foreigners; the Manks jurisprudence, when it . justly compels a native debtor to give up all his present and future effects in satisfaction to the creditor, humanely exempts him from the rigours of imprisonment; and its polity has thought fit to give a limited protection to the stranger for debts contracted by him out of the island, for the King's writ does not extend to the Isle of Man; and it must always be remembered, that an English act of Parliament does not bind his Majesty's subjects in the island, unless it is expressly named therein.
By several acts of Tynwald, and the practice of the court thereon, so far as relates to a native, he cannot be held to bail or arrested for debt, unless he has obtained the governor's. pass, or there is some other just cause; as, for instance, his declaration, or avowed intention, by some clear overt act, that he is in meditatione fugæ ; and this manifestation must be verified by affidavit. With regard to bankruptcy, as recognized by the English laws, with all its train of legal consequences, it is entirely unknown to the Manks law.
With respect to a stranger, should he be arrested for a debt contracted out of the island, he may immediately petition the governor for
a hearing, which may be granted instanter, on three days notice of the hearing being given to the party; and in case his effects in the island are forthcoming or delivered up, or on the plaintiff's obtaining the governor's process to summon a jury, for the purpose of inquiring whether the defendant is possessed of effects, and their verdict should be, that he is not, he must be immediately, liberated : but if the stranger should contract a debt, however small, in the island, he may be arrested, and, on non-payment, or, if sufficient bail cannot be procured to answer the amount of the debt, or damages and costs which shall be awarded by the court, he may be confined in the prison of Castle Rushen till the plaintiff is satisfied the amount. But if the prisoner for debt under a decree or judgment shall have faithfully and justly accounted for, and delivered up his effects on vath, the governor may allow him sixpence per day for his subsistence; and in default of the payment weekly, the governor may liberate the prisoner.
Respecting the law of arbitration, no proceedings under this head are cognizable in the courts of the isle, without a penal bond to his Majesty, or without a rule of court, entered into by consent of parties in court.
The statute of 1736 having exempted a landed man from arrest for debt, it is material to show what was meant or intended by that expression; and this will be clearly evinced by the following opinion of the Keys, which is recorded in the Liber Scaccarii of the year 1719, in these words: “ We say, that whoever hat
an interest or title to any estate or holding within the land of Man descending from his ancestors, and doth pay lord's rent, and other suits and services as the natives do, he ought to have all the privileges the natives enjoy by the laws and customs of this island; but this not to be understood to qualify any stranger or incomer to these privileges, by taking a rent of a small value, on purpose to enjoy the benefit hereof, but to such only, as, either by purchase pay the lord's rent of an ancient quarter-land or more, or three pounds or more yearly in intack, which we look upon equiva. lent thereto, and occupy and improve the same by himself, family, or farmer, to the end the lord and country may be the better secured that he perform the suits and services the natives do, in proportion to his estate or holding."